With high speed rail project HS2, a rapidly growing rental boom and family-friendly suburbs, the recent Commonwealth Games host city could be winning many more golds – for investors.
The Games were a fitting tribute to a city that has been quietly updating its image to emerge as one of the most exciting cities to invest in the UK. With its wealth of start-ups and global companies (including PwC, Goldman Sachs and HSBC) that have opened offices, its booming economy (worth £31.9 billion — the biggest outside of London), the more than 200 shops in the Bullring & Grand Central shopping centre, and the forthcoming Curzon Street HS2 station, the UK’s second city has a lot to shout about.
Birmingham is the birthplace of the balti curry, home of the UK’s oldest working cinema and has more miles of canals than Venice! When the superfast HS2 railway line opens — phase one of the project (London to Birmingham) should be completed by 2033 — journey times to London will be slashed to 52 minutes.
“Birmingham and its city centre have changed dramatically over the past ten years — never more so than in the past three or four, when even a global pandemic did little to halt the speed of its evolution,” Ben Evans, a partner for the estate agency Mr and Mrs Clarke, says. “Three distinct areas that have changed the most are the City Core, Eastside/Digbeth and Edgbaston/Harborne.”
Here is our review of the best places to invest in Birmingham:
A fountain of youth
Birmingham has one of the youngest populations in Europe — there are 80,000 students dotted across the city’s five universities. The University of Birmingham, a Russell Group institution, is ranked 25th in the country in The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022. The university’s two campuses are home to the grade I listed Barber Institute — a concert hall and gallery with one of the UK’s best small art collections — seven acres of leafiness at Winterbourne House and Garden, and top-class sports facilities that will hold the Commonwealth Games hockey and squash events. Impressively, 49% of University of Birmingham graduates choose to stay and work in the city.
In the city centre (where the average house price is £236,872 according to Rightmove Feb 2023) and the Jewellery Quarter to the northwest, warehouse conversions join a swathe of new-builds.
A jewel in the crown
Cool and polished, the Jewellery Quarter is a favourite residential neighbourhood that still creates 40% of all jewellery made in the UK. The former workshops and warehouses in the streets surrounding St Paul’s Square house art galleries and 80 cafés and restaurants. For casual grazing head to Hockley Social Club, a food hall, bar and events space in a former 10,000 sq ft printing factory.
You’ll find the most expensive apartments in the city in the Jewellery Quarter.
Urban vibes and culture
Birmingham offers city living at a fraction of the price of London — average prices are £259,417, compared with £734,494 in the capital, according to Rightmove Feb 2023. For fun, edgy vibes within easy walk of the city centre, look no further than Digbeth (average price £198,976) in the Creative Quarter. While rough around the edges — it has been “up and coming” for two decades — illegal raves have been replaced by vintage clothing pop-ups, live music venues and all the entertainment options you could hope for, in and around the restored Bird’s Custard factory.
Neighbouring Eastside, also known as the Knowledge Quarter, is home to Aston University, Birmingham City University and the site of the Curzon Street station.
Southside, encompassing the Chinese and Gay Quarters to the south of the City Core, is a hub for nightlife, and is the location of Birmingham Hippodrome, for ballet, musicals, opera and comedy.
In 2021 a transaction total of £670 million made Birmingham the most popular city outside the capital for build-to-rent investment and JLL expect Birmingham to see the highest house price growth in the UK over the next five years. Property values are forecast to rise by 27%, and rental growth is expected to reach 17% over the same period. Birmingham’s house prices stand at £259,417, versus the UK average of £296,000.
The average house price in Birmingham has risen by 80% over the last 10 years to Nov 2022 (UK Land Registry), an average of 8% per year. With house prices still below the UK average and some of the most exciting investments in the city on the horizon, Birmingham is heading for investment property gold.
To learn more about the city’s major growth catalysts and explore some of the most exciting investment property opportunities, head over to our Birmingham investment page or give us a call on +44 (0)208 095 0205 or +1 (647) 724 5815.